Transition to practice

To be completed before the end of your final year

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The following tools and resources will help you keep track of the important milestones and tasks you must complete as a senior resident in order to practice.

  • Certification, credentials, examinations and accreditation
  • Licensing
  • Hospital privileges
  • AMA membership
  • Practitioner identification number
  • Malpractice insurance

Certification, credentials, examinations and accreditation

The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (RCPSC)

During your residency, you may have maintained a free Resident Affiliation with the Royal College. Once you have been certified and have joined the Royal College as a Fellow, you: 

  • Have the privilege of using the professional designations FRCPC or FRCSC.
  • Are automatically enrolled in the Maintenance of Certification (MOC) Program (required), to plan for and track your continuing professional development and lifelong learning.
  • Become eligible for awards and grants – the Royal College distributes more than $1 million every year.

Most candidates take their certification examination in the final year of their postgraduate training program (specialty disciplines – spring; subspecialties – fall).

The College of Family Physicians of Canada

Residency eligibility for certification by examination applies to:

  • Graduates of CFPC-accredited family medicine residency programs who have successfully completed a minimum of 24 months of training.
  • Successful graduates of postgraduate family medicine training programs in jurisdictions where the standards for accreditation of postgraduate family medicine training are judged comparable and acceptable to the CFPC

If successful, you will be able to use the designation CCFP (Certification in the College of Family Physicians).

The Certification Examination in Family Medicine is conducted twice per year, in the spring and fall.

You will be responsible for maintaining these credentials through your ongoing membership in the CFPC and your participation in their Maintenance of Certification Program (MAINPRO®).


To practice in Alberta, you must obtain a medical practice permit from the College of Physicians & Surgeons of Alberta.

When you successfully complete the RCPSC or CFPC examinations, this information will be provided to the CPSA. However, you must complete an application for membership prior to beginning your practice (additional examination results can follow).

Malpractice insurance

Once licensed by CPSA, you must have malpractice insurance in place before you begin practicing. Before graduating, contact the Canadian Medical Protective Association.

Hospital privileges

To apply for privileges, most hospitals will have a form for you to fill out. You may be asked questions about:

  • your residency and/or fellowships
  • any clinical and/or teaching positions
  • your previous hospital privileges
  • any previous denial of privileges

The hospital will request a number of documents, which may include:

  • résumé
  • certificates 
  • licenses 
  • evidence of relevant experience 
  • reference letters 
  • recent photograph

Hospital privileges usually require approval by the medical affairs committee, or equivalent body, and possibly others. Be sure to apply for privileges at least one month prior to the planned work term.

AMA membership

Don’t forget to contact the AMA to renew, update your membership category or apply for membership in the AMA. The AMA is your voice: we negotiate with Alberta Health and manage the physician services budget.

Practitioner identification number

Most physicians in Alberta do not receive a salary. Instead they:

  • Bill the Alberta Health Care Insurance Plan (AHCIP) on a fee-for-service basis. 
  • Receive remuneration through an alternate relationship plan (ARP).

To practice under either business arrangement with Alberta Health, you must have a practitioner identification number (PRAC ID). This includes referring physicians who do not submit claims themselves.

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Alberta Medical Association Mission: Advocate for and support Alberta physicians. Strengthen their leadership in the provision of sustainable quality care.